More than 700 students will participate in the annual Wyoming State Thespian Festival (WSTF) Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5-7, at the University of Wyoming.
The competition is organized by the Wyoming Educators of Secondary Theatre and is hosted by UW’s Department of Theatre and Dance. The three-day event is dedicated to presenting and adjudicating the performance, technical and design work of Wyoming theater students.
Students from more than 30 Wyoming high schools will compete in categories across the UW campus, including the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts and the UW Conference Center. They will compete in a variety of performance and design events, including monologues, scenic design and costume design. Each school also may bring one group performance in proscenium, arena or devised.
Experienced theater artists will judge the events and offer productive feedback. Additionally, theater professionals will present workshops in acting, voice, movement, dance and design.
Patrick Konesko, a UW Department of Theatre and Dance assistant professor and co-producer of WSTF, notes the importance of direct interactions with experienced theater artists.
“Many high school theater programs across the state are run on pure passion,” Konesko says. “Often, teachers who get drafted to run these programs don’t have formal theater training. This event is an opportunity for the teachers and, more importantly, the students to get critique and gain experience with experts in the field.”
Students also will have opportunities to learn more about UW’s performing arts programs and the campus.
Hosting the festival gives the UW Department of Theatre and Dance an invaluable opportunity to provide services to the state and to the university, says Cecelia Aragón, a UW Department of Theatre and Dance professor and co-producer of WSTF. She says that, by hosting the event, the department builds bridges and solid relationships with secondary public schools in Wyoming.
One of UW’s inreach goals involves bringing Wyoming residents to Laramie and the UW campus so that UW can provide educational opportunities and build mutually beneficial partnerships with Wyoming communities.
WSTF supports UW’s inreach goals by connecting Wyoming high school students and staff with experienced theater professionals through a process that allows both parties to learn and grow as artists.
The UW College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office recognized the potential WSTF has and awarded an inreach grant to the UW Department of Theatre and Dance to support the costs of hosting the festival.